How Much Do Farmers Make a Year?
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Put Food on Your Table as You Grow it for Others
If you love working outside, using your hands and being active, a career in farming could be a rewarding way to support your family. Farmers work long hours, but farming is generally a family-friendly occupation that allows you to be with your family for meals year-round and spend more time with them during the off-season. Children sometimes enjoy helping on the farm, and many families pass the trade and the family farm down through generations.
Farmers are responsible for managing farms that produce crops, meat or dairy. Responsibilities vary by the size of the farm and whether conventional or organic methods are used. In general, farmers plant crops or raise stock. They attend to the health of the crops or livestock and choose methods for tending to them to ensure maximum output, as well as selling and distributing their yield. Many farmers are also responsible for purchasing, ordering and maintaining farm equipment, as well as for grounds-keeping and financial management. Work hours are normally from sunrise to sunset during the growing season, but in the off-season, farmers work flexible hours while tending to farm equipment and planning for the next growing season.
Farmers usually have a high school diploma or the equivalent, but they learn most of their skills through on-the-job training and experience. Some farmers pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in agriculture, agribusiness or business. Universities and the government also provide training opportunities, so new farmers can learn the necessary skills for the trade.
Farmer salaries sometimes vary widely from year to year with the weather, natural disasters, demand and other conditions. The median annual salary is $66,360, which means that half earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $126,070, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $35,020.
Most farmers are self-employed, which gives them a great deal of flexibility in their scheduling and time management, but it also means that they must purchase their own insurance and plan for their retirement. Many farms produce both livestock and crops, while some farmers prefer to specialize in one or the other. Work can be strenuous, and the hours long. Exposure to chemicals can pose certain health risks.
Years of Experience
Farmer salaries vary with weather conditions, farm size, growing methods and other variables. It also tends to increase with experience. One projection looks like this:
- Starting Farmer Earnings: $33,840
- Junior Farmer Earnings: $48,080
- Experienced Farmer Earnings: $70,110
- Senior Farmer Earnings: $91,290
- Top End Farmer Earnings: $119,530
Job Growth Trends
Job opportunities for farmers are expected to increase by 7 percent over the next decade, which is about as fast as in other industries. Many opportunities are arising as older farmers retire, making room for younger farmers to take over. Other opportunities are available as consumers embrace farm-to-table cuisine and locally grown organic foods. Increasing crop yield and wisely selecting your market help to increase the return on your hard work.
Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bizfluent, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.